It is doubtful whether there is any other modern English-speaking country about which the average American reader is so abysmally ignorant as he is about New Zealand. The reason is quite simple--there has never been a good one-volume history available. Mr. Oliver, despite his modest Preface (""This book is in no sense an attempt at a standard history....""), has gone a long way towards righting this state of affairs. His aim is ""to give an overall picture of origins and development"", and it is difficult to imagine how anyone could do that job better in less than 300 pages. He is a ""North Islander by origin and inclination"", yet no one could accuse him of lacking objectivity in his account of the interaction among conflicting interests and diverse cultures, or in his lucid analysis of recent accomplishments and present-day problems. Without a sacrifice of either scope or interest, he has also maintained a clarity of style which makes this book suitable for readers of any age.